Combining hens & new pullets-- who did not have a perfect quarantine

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by My1stChickens, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. My1stChickens

    My1stChickens Songster

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    Background: I have six hens that are 4 years old or older, established flock. Recently I bought six pullets, approx. 6 months old. They are about the same size as the grown hens. I put the six new girls in a chicken tractor for quarantine. Within a few days, one was showing respiratory symptoms so I separated her for observation. By evening she was rattling, albeit bright and no discharge or bubbles or stinky stuff. I gave her to a friend who was perfectly happy to treat her, and keep her. A few days later the buff orphinton looked under the weather. It was really cold, and at first I just thought she was just cold-- sorta puffed up. So I separated her, and "thought about things". She was showing mild respiratory symptoms- noisy breathing and a random sneeze. I ended up treating her and she rebounded like a champ. Of the remaining 4, one sexlink and the EE looked a little bit under the weather, but not bad enough to bring in. All rebounded. Since I gave one away, I now have 5 pullets, and they are eating, drinking, chickening, and doing great. They've started to lay eggs.

    I realize that since 3 of my remaining 5 pullets showed some signs of stress/sickness, that they could relapse under stress. None were at death's door and they might have recovered on their own, I don't know.

    THE QUESTION: Now how do I integrate the two groups-- in terms of this respiratory thing? How long do I wait? Any special considerations? I'm somewhat anxious to move all to the big coop, since it's such a better situation that the little quarantine tractor.

    Thanks in advance for guidance, advise. The last time I added new hens it was a group of 3 mature hens, to my younger non aggressive pullets. It went pretty well-- but there was no hint of illness for any of them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
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  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    How did you end up treating the pullets?
    If they had symptoms of a respiratory illness, then all would be considered carriers. Mycoplasma, ILT and Infectious Coryza are fairly common and birds are carriers for life (recovered birds and those exposed). Infectious Bronchitis is also very common and makes birds carriers for up to one year (those recovered and exposed).

    Stress of integration may/may not cause a relapse in illness, there's no way to know. When you put the pullets with your adults, it's always possible the adults may become sick too (symptomatic). Regardless, if they have been near one another, I would consider all carriers.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear. What is your chicken keeping goals? Keeping a closed flock since you have respiratory illness is the wise and ethical thing to do. If you plan on breeding/selling/giving away chickens, chicks, hatching eggs or showing, then get some testing to find out what you are dealing with. Respiratory illnesses can impact egg laying/production/quality and reproductive system, some are passed into the embryo of hatching eggs.

    Here's a good snapshot of common illnesses in poultry, for more in depth reading about each one, just google each illness and you should be able to get a lot of info on each one. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044

    Hope all goes well for you.
    Just may take on illness and adding to a flock (my 2¢)
     
  3. My1stChickens

    My1stChickens Songster

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    Thank you Wyorp Rock for taking time to weigh in. My goals are just backyard pets, no sales. I did give the one new pullet away-- to an experienced chicken guy who knew where I got the pullets (he buys from the same guy) but I would never pass off a sick animal without full disclosure and to someone who understood. So closed flock is fine for me. He treated the pullet I gave him with duramycin and she's fine now. Her symptoms: rattling when she breathed, sneezing, not eating well.

    When #2 caught my attention I really thought she was just cold. (Puffed up, head tucked) but when I got her separated and warmed up, I heard slight noises in her breathing. She remained very quiet, and disinterested in food water. So I treated her with Tylan. In retrospect, probably overkill due to hypervigilance. She seemed well at 4 days, but I dosed for 5 days.

    The next day (and by now I'm LOOKING for trouble) I thought one sexlink and the EE were quieter, not eating as well, not as active as the other two. So I put duramycin in their shared water. In 3 days they were looking well. I continued the duramycin for another 3 days.

    I have studied charts and read up on respiratory diseases but am not sure what they had - perhaps I caught it so early they did not show all the symptoms. Absolutely no discharge, no eyes swollen shut, no foaming bubbles or smelly stuff. One had a bit of a poopy butt but the others did not. The first hen was clearly sick, because she was rattling. The others were not as sick but I did not want them to get that sick.
     
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  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Crossing the Road

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    :thumbsup Good deal! It sounds like you are on top of things.
    I hope your integration goes smoothly, I'm sure you have read up on doing that.
    Sometimes it goes very well, other times...you need patience! LOL One thing is don't rush them, let them work it out and don't interfere unless someone is getting hurt. Having space is a plus! It can be hard to watch sometimes, but things will eventually settle (whew!! :))

    Good luck.
     
  5. Ms Biddy

    Ms Biddy One chicken short of crazy

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    Sorry your quarantine didn't go well. I'm in the middle of a quarantine too. To me, the whole point is that I don't want to introduce illness to the flock, so I wouldn't be trying to integrate them at all. If you do add them to your flock and keep it closed, as you said, be sure to practice excellent biosecurity to prevent accidentally transmitting illness to others. It goes beyond just not selling hatching eggs or live birds. Here's a nice video.
     
  6. My1stChickens

    My1stChickens Songster

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    I'm good on space-- main coop is 11x13 so 130 square feet with almost 20' of roost (not all together, so they have options) Their outdoor pen is about 2000 square feet.
     
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  7. Cragg Klefor

    Cragg Klefor Songster

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    Hi My1stChickens :frow
    Did you start your integration? Just wondering how it's going?
    :pop
     
  8. My1stChickens

    My1stChickens Songster

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    Not yet, since I’d had some issues I wanted to watch them carefully to ensure they seemed well— and yesterday one started sneezing. Right now I’m wishing I never got this group. Treating her and will have to decide on next steps.
     
  9. Cragg Klefor

    Cragg Klefor Songster

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    Aw! Sorry to hear that!
     
  10. My1stChickens

    My1stChickens Songster

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    I'm back. The pullets all seem healthy now so I'm starting to think about how to get them all in one coop. But I'll be starting a new thread, since I'm now pretty clear on a plan for dealing with any stress induced respiratory stuff. I really just need to figure out the integration plan. So, closing this down and will open a new thread.
     
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